I like to design around a story line. It very much simplifies the design process. As a writer and someone who worked in film, the notion of telling a story in home design seems very natural to me. And it helps me determine a design direction for the home. I often ask the home owner to help me invent a story for their house as a part of the initial creative process.

The story behind Calecho, for example, goes like this. Once upon a time (let’s say 1901) an Englishman left the love of his life behind and came to America to seek his fortune in the Silver Mines of Breckenridge, Colorado. He was heartsick leaving his love behind, but he was also a very hard worker, and smart. For years he thought he would never see her again and in torment, he would stand on a hill overlooking a valley calling her name, listening to it echo back across the hills. He built his mine on that hill and in 1905 he struck it rich. In order to entice his beloved to come to America, and to impress her parents, he converted his mine into a grand home. Calecho. Calista’s echo.

This story helps me to establish not only a time frame, but a thematic sensibility for the design of the home. Almost any question I can ask about the design now has an answer because of this story. Ultimately, it as a home built out of a man’s love for a woman. The rest was simply coloring in the details.

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